Christmas Card Kindness post two

This little boy ( Andrew Russell) lives in a town not far from us. He has cancer and would like to get a mail box full of Christmas Cards. He was first diagnosed in 2006 with a rare form of cancer ependymoma a brain tumor that spreads malignant cells through the brain and spinal cord....at that time he asked for his mail box to be full of Christmas Cards for him, which happened. Now sadly in 2014 at age 12 he is battling cancer again. He would like Christmas Cards again ...



If you would like to send him a Christmas Card
Send it to
Andrew Russell
PO Box 365
Point, TX 75472

This was on our local news WFAA Channel 8

You may have seen the post I did previous to this. Which I deleted. For some reason the typing on it was not right. Several of the sentences were encased in white boxes and the typing was pale orange. Barely legible. I tried to fix it but it wouldn't fix. So I am re-posting this ..


Daffodils as a mole deterrent

We have tried so many things here to rid our place of moles. Most did nothing.

Photo borrowed from the Net.
 As stated in other post I do use wire bottomed raised beds, Cage some of my trees and bushes I plant. Another thing we use is Daffodils. Yep plain old daffodils. When doing research for the 900th time on how to get rid of moles I stumbled onto "daffodils" would send them packing..That they would turn moles away. I did some research to see if this seemed to be true or a old wives tale. 

Well I found a few blogs of people swearing this had in fact worked for them. They showed what they had done. Were very happy with the results....most said like me, they didn't think it would help but gave it a try. etc etc.. So I figured what can it hurt, the flowers will be pretty, nothing to loose but some of my time to plant them right... so I did a test, a pretty big one to start with...as luck would have it was the time of year bulbs were on clearance here..I started planting the bulbs in all the raised tunnels in my yard.  The moles got so mad.. whew they threw temper tantrums.. I had mole hills not just tunnels and not just one or two hills LOL... I had them alllllll over the place popping up like crazy for a couple days. Looked like a tick tac toe board of dirt hills alllll over the place. My first thought was oh no not only did it not work but they like them! Well no they didn't like them. They were tunneling to get away from the bulbs. They even pushed a few bulbs up onto the ground they were so mad LOL... Not a nibble on a daffodil bulb though. I promptly stuck those bulbs right back down in the hole they came out of! So I was thinking ok this may just work. They seemed to stay out of the areas and away from the shrubs where I had planted the bulbs. :O)

So soon as the the daffodils bulbs went on clearance that next season . I bought several 100 bulbs again. I planted them every where I could find a mole tunnel and around existing shrubs or things that I did not know to cage when I planted them etc... Low and behold the moles stopped eating the roots off those shrubs too. Then for almost a year the mole activity in our yard was hardly there at all.... so cool!

The bonus in the spring its quite the site around here... Since then I have planted more and more and we are up over 1200 bulbs now... I always manage to get them on clearance for not much money and I just buy several hundred when I do.  As they start to multiply and need dividing I will do so and plant them elsewhere on the property... Where we live I do not have to lift bulbs in the winter or this would not be a option obviously ... All of my bulbs stay in the ground year around. 

Is this fool proof, not 100% no. But it has worked well enough that I feel I can plant something and not cage it IF I put a bunch of daffodil bulbs around it. Its been working and I am tickled.

I just finished doing just that with my Fuyu persimmon trees I just planted. I am banking on the daffodils. I have seen them work. I know they will make the moles go the other way. So when I planted my bare root fuyu trees I did not put a wire cage in the ground. Daffodils don't fail me now!

Actually I used them around a fig tree as well that I did not cage and it worked! The moles love the roots on fig trees for some reason. I have lost a lot of fig trees trying to get one started here. I thought it was a water and heat issue but then figured out the moles was just as involved in the demise of all those fig trees!

Luckily this time of year bulbs are on clearance and this is also the time of year I would be planting trees and such. I found these 75% off ...The Allium are not for the moles. Those are just cuz I couldn't pass them up at $1.75 cents a pkg of 10.  All these bulbs were in great condition. The big bags of Daffodils are 50 count bags, I bought six bags. They were on clearance for $5.00 a bag. 

 So I sliced two rings around each Fuyu tree with the shovel and then got to work planting the bulbs. One thing about our dirt being sandy is its easy to dig in. That is one of the same reasons we have moles so bad. Its kinda a catch 22. But it does usually make digging in it easy, so that is nice.
Kinda hard to see them but there are the two rings.
Then in go the bulbs 
I can just scoop out the dirt with my hands since I made the slice into the ground with the shovel.  Push back the dirt onto the bulbs and done. It took one bag of 50 bulbs to do the two rings around each tree. So I used 200 of the 300 bulbs I bought on my four fuyu trees. Think how pretty this will be with daffodils coming up in rings under the fuyu trees! Come spring I will get photos of alllll the daffodils around here :O)

The bulbs in these big count bags are always so big! How cool are these! Two covered my hand from wrist to finger tip. ThoughI do have small hands, still they are huge bulbs.
One the size of my palm


Over coming gardening obstacles where you live.

Where I live... North East Texas.... we have some good things and some bad things to deal with as far as gardening goes. I am sure this could be said by anyone. I have learned over the years there are many obstacles to gardening. But if its something you love and want to do bad enough, you will figure out a way.

Didn't really have photos for this post so here is a photo of whats being over wintered in my little greenhouse.

Someone ask what size our farm is. We live on a small farm of 27 acres. However, the amount of land I use for gardening is less than 2 acres, quite a bit less than 2 but probably a bit over one.  The reason I haven't used more of the property is simple. 
 Obstacle No. 1 Water.... Getting water to the area and having enough water. You see we do not have a water well. We are on county water, we buy our water.
Here where we live rain is scarce. When you have the heat we do and the lack of rain we do that can make it tough.  
Water Solution part one  Over the last few years we have cut our water bill drastically! :O). Actually we have managed to get it lower than a lot of people we know that don't garden! So I am feeling really good about this!  I did a post on the method we have been putting into place for gardening here. The gentlemen lives in a area that gets even less rainfall than we do and he raises a lot of things. Granted he doesn't get the heat to the level and length of time we do,, but his ideas are solid I think and have proven to be very effective.....www.backtoedenfilm.com When I watched the video online it was free to watch, I assume it still is. Its very long so get a cup of tea and a snack. We cannot always get wood chips, so we use a lot of hay! Hay is what we can easily get. Plus I have read that hay actually puts a lot of good stuff back in your soil. No I do not have a issue with it seeding and coming up in my gardens.  But you know you should use what you can get and think is right for you! If you can get wood chips great, if you can get straw easy great, for us its hay! I would love to be able to always get the wood chips from the tree trimmers but seems lot of folks are after those LOL. When the county tree trimmers were in the area.. They had 4 farms on our short dead end road saying please dump your chips on our land. LOL . I am sure there were others in the area on other roads asking for them too.  We were lucky we got 2 loads. They all went in the fruit orchard!

Our gardens are doing sooooo much better and with soooo much less water! Example I watered my Knock out Rose fence around my orchard not once last year! Nope not one time. I watered our fruit orchard I think it was twice. Yes only twice.  I have a make shift water system set up in it, it was all I knew how to do so its what I did. I took a 100foot water hose. I pierced a hole in it at each tree. When I do water I turn on my water and I water low and slow. So every drop sinks in right at the base of the trees.  I will do a regular true drip irrigation set up in there after my class. The water hose set up has some issues but hey its worked till I can learn to set up a proper system.

Solution part two Keep learning! I am taking a irrigation course at a local college,  just need to figure which month is my best to do it. Honeyman found out about it and said you should take this. I said yes I should!  I think that will be great for watering exactly where I need to with a drip irrigation system. Learning is just part of gardening and well anything in my book.  I love to read and research things! I learn a lot from fellow bloggers.  My best bud and I have found ourselves a class on grafting and air layering and other forms of propagation. Its not till Feb. 2015. The weather may or may not let me make the trip down there 3.5 hours drive and then the class is 1.5 hours from her. Hopefully it will!  This is something we have both wanted to learn how to do for quite some time.  In the meantime I am reading up on this!

Water Solution part three Another thing I do is try to select varieties of things that take less water and can tolerate our extreme heat.  What is right for our climate. This will save you a lot of grief.

Obstacle No. 2 Moles!!! ... arggg- grrrrrr. We have them in spades where we live. LOL Don't leave me a comment saying moles only eat grubs and not plant roots or such. Cuz I might in a moment of unclear thinking delete it ROFL ROFL.. I have seen with my own eyes a chard plant be jerked down into a mole hole like a cartoon on TV, literally while I am standing in my garden!!! They not only will eat the roots off plants they will take the whole darn plant! I have had fully developed squash plants loaded with squash doing so well... only to find them from one day to the next dead nearly... There they lay wilted covered in what would have been a nice crop of squash... why... because you can simply pick up the whole plant easily.. the roots have been eaten off by moles ... 

Solution  raised beds with wire bottoms. Wire cages for fruit trees or bushes ... and also more recently daffodils!!! Yes Daffodils will run them off.  I was tickled to find it was true! I have over 1200 daffodil bulbs planted here all over the place and I plant more every year! Daffodils wont kill them but they don't like them at all!  I do anything I can that I see works to run those fellas off!

Obstacle No. 3  Oh lets not forget the humidity, it can be a issue with plants and humans,,, whew .. oh ya a 100 plus degree day with 85% 90% humidity that is always fun NOT! We don't get quite the humidity every day here that Houston does but we get a lot here on to many days.  I am a runner and I can tell you there are times when I have gone for my run and I have told honeyman..its like breathing through a wet wash cloth. Not fun. This same humidity makes it hard on some plants as well. So when I research a plant if it says it can tolerate humidity and heat and is drought tolerant once established. Bingo I am... Luckily I do ok with the humidity, it makes it harder for sure to deal with the heat on those days but people that have asthma or such really struggle with it.  It reallllly makes it hard for them to be outside doing stuff. 
No solution, just deal with it.

What are your obstacles? How do you deal with them?

Skittles, Cubey  and part of our front pasture area.












It's all about the dirt...some elephant garlic and blackberries for a twist

This time of year I am mowing and bagging leaves. I add them to my garden rows or I use them to pile onto already planted things for mulch/ moisture retention. Moisture retention has become a passion here at our farm. Its paying off ten fold too!

Leaves are like free gold as far as a garden goes.
Below are two beds. To the beds I have added a good layer of leaves I mowed up, a good amount of compost and then a layer of dirt I actually got off mole hills on our property. Darn moles are not good for one thing,  but they do dig up nice loose piles of dirt that are easily scooped up! I go around with my wheel barrow and a shovel or I take the four wheeler and drive the property with the little red trailer attached and scoop up dirt. 

The below beds will be my onions rows. I ordered from Dixondale farms (www.dixondalefarms.com)  my onions starts for this year. I ordered 6 bundles, each bundle has 50 to 70 starts in it. Sounds like a lot I know.  But we use a lot of onions and since I didn't plant many last year. We are out of fresh, out of frozen and down to a piece of one big jar of dried.... we have been buying organic fresh to get us through...Yep this year I need to grow a bunch. Dixondale Farms is a Texas company/farm, I have ordered from them before and was very happy with my starts. Also I need my onions starts the first of January and I can get them from them then! Being Texas based they know we plant our onions then!

Ok back to the dirt, I add the leaves and the compost and the dirt and mix it into what is in the bed. Because we use raised beds with wire bottoms ( moles you know)  I can tell easily when I need to add dirt an such. LOL I sometimes wonder where does it go? It can be full to the brim and in two years time its down by half. 
The photo below the front part of this bed is done. where the little pile is you see is where I will continue on adding compost to the leaves and then some dirt from the farm. Mixing good as I go. Yep lots of work. 
These beds below, I have dumped leaves in the front end of this one row. I have a long way to go on these beds. These are the beds I am digging up the raspberries from... to rehome elsewhere... whew.. I have some volunteer garlic coming up in them :O).  Oh I would just like to throw in my new 50% shade cover cloth was great this last year. My vegetables all seemed to love it a lot! I don't know what I would do without my shade covers for my veggy gardens!

the bed below I have added leaves but no compost or dirt yet. This year is a big job for filling the front garden beds with compost, leaves, dirt......

Speaking of garlic, this is some elephant garlic I planted in my back garden (which I do not have to fill the beds this year) woowhoo, the leaves in this bed just fell right into the bed and will stay since they fell there. Cool that was easy right! I planted a lot of elephant garlic this fall. I had some I had saved for seed  that I grew last year. Then I decided I wanted to plant a elephant garlic permanent bed. I read that you could leave it in the ground year around, pull it as you wanted to. The trick apparently is to not water it past July. (we will find out) The thing is when I ordered more elephant garlic to plant, I guess I misunderstood how much I would get for a pound. You order by the pound. Ummmm lets just say I had A LOT of seed garlic to plant ROFL :O)
Mom are you sure we need to do all this work? I might need to rest my eyes a bit, ok? You wake me up if you need me okay. The big white dog will be right here just resting his eyes. 

I raise Kiowa Blackberries and Arapaho and Quachita and a few other .... The Kiowa are by far my best berries! They can take our blasting heat... they can take our west sun! (not much can take our west sun) They are so drought tolerant they lived through 2011 with no babying, if you don't live in Texas 2011 may not mean much to you...  2011 changed the landscape of Texas forever, sadly! Horrrrrrribbbbbble drought and heat. So when you hear someone say here that they have something that lived through 2011 without added help... your ears perk up big time!!

Kiowa is the largest blackberry we grow here in the U.S. and it is huge! They can well, they freeze well. They are not quite as sweet as some of the other varieties but their flavor is very good, very blackberry. When you live somewhere as hot as we are and get no more rain than we do. A little less sweet, no biggy just add another 1/8 cup organic sugar... they are very tasty berries...

The only other thing I should mention... she says with a devilish grin....the large razor sharp thorns they have!!! Oh ya let me tell ya they are wicked mean with those thorns... but again, where I live these babies are great!!! They thrive... My other thorn-less blackberries require a lot more water and can struggle in our extreme heat! Plus the squirrels rob a good portion of those berries grrrr easy pickings no thorns...

They do not even go into the Kiowa berries at all! uh huh ... aforementioned razor sharp thorns!!! Silver lining you see! I have 100 pots pegged off my mother plants! They root super, super easy and they make babies rather quickly on their own :o).. Another plus in my book :O) ... So I will have 100 new plants to put in the ground this next year!
You can see some but not all below in the photo.
see the bright green leaf that is on a new stem that shot up out of the pot that I pegged the original stem in. You just bury part of, in this case I stuck the end of the stem into the pot buried it with compost and wa la a new plant is rooted...Don't cut the original stem loose from the mother plant. Its still attached to the live plant.  My best bud taught me how to peg plants!! I think spring would be best for pegging most things, but these Kiowa seem to be happy to root anytime and they root fast.
Newly rooted plants. I will leave them till this spring, then cut the original stem of the mother plant loose.. leaving the new plant ready to put where I want. 
Pots and pots I pegged off my existing plants. 
the row below by the fence is a new row I started last year from volunteer babies... now I have many pots rotting off those. Kiowas grow fast and produce berries in my experiences the first year. 
I see blackberry wine in my future! :O) 


Fuyu persimmon trees and a fantastic tree farm!

If you have never eaten a Fuyu persimmon your really missing out. You eat them while they are crisp like a apple! Fuyu are a non astringent persimmon, they are not bitter persimmons like American persimmons are unless they are mushy ripe. They are so sweet they make you think of honey in flavor! Crunchy sweet yumminess! They are usually seedless.  I love these things! They can be grown in a small range of gardening zones to my knowledge. 7-9 seems to be the most suggested, but I did see as far north as zone 6b and as far south as zone 10 in one listing. They are drought tolerant once established which is super for our area! They supposedly do quite well in our heat as well.  They do not require tons of water to make fruit. They are a Japanese persimmon.


I have been wanting to put in some fuyu persimmon trees for a while now. But they are expensive trees here. Every time I would find one (which was rare) it would usually be at a private nursery,  potted in a small container not a big one and it would be 50.00-70.00 dollars.  Ouch. $$$ ..... I couldn't spend that on one tree :O(. That just seemed extreme to me in pricing. So I would leave the tree at the nursery and to be honest when I would be back at that nursery again those trees were usually still there. 

Well  last spring very late spring, I found a wholesale nursery that sold them!  They have a 400 acre farm,  have been in business for a long time here in Texas.  They will let the public buy trees from them too! Woowhoo Sooo yesterday I drove about an hour and a half to the nursery as they had told me last spring when I found them and they were out of Fuyu trees,  that they would have Fuyu trees the week after Thanksgiving to come back. I called them earlier this week and yes they had them. I got four bare root trees.  18.50 a piece. I was thrilled! 


If only I had had my camera with me at the nursery.... I was blown away with what I saw... thousands and thousands of bare root trees different sizes.... This place was not like this last spring when I was there,which was past their prime season, it was late spring so they were about done for the year. Here in Texas you  plant trees late fall, winter and very early spring and have a chance of them surviving the wicked heat we get. Once its past March, its a crap shoot if a tree will make it if you plant them. 

There were trees tied in bundles of 10 every where! They were in raised rows outside buried deep enough to stand up .. there were metal buildings FULL of bundles of trees in saw dust... It was just the coolest thing I have ever seen. It is called Texas Pecan Nursery but they sell many other kinds of trees besides pecans.. 
www.texaspecannursery.com is their web site. You can order online from them!

So the nice lady in the front office had this older, mountain of a man take me to the fuyu trees. We stepped out the back door into a big metal building full of trees... I was so taken back I think I giggled because with what I was seeing I couldn't really get my sentences pulled together for a minute or two... It was just soooooooo cool...trees everywhere!!!!!  Then we went out of that building past two more giant metal buildings with 1000s of trees in them!!!!!.. We came to another building and walked in and there were rows and rows of bundles of ten trees planted in sawdust and then huge piles of sawdust and some guys working on doing more rows... They had all sizes of fuyus from 24" to 8 feet... It was amazing I tell you!! Once I got over the initial shock I was just yattering away to this gentlemen who must have thought I was a bit off in the head as I was just so blown away ... and well ya know I love plants and gardening and I just couldn't believe my eyes.. I wanted to stay there all day LOL...

So I pick out the size I wanted and he cuts open a bundle and pulled me four out of the bundle. They came right up as they were in sawdust... they were bare root trees. He said how are these, I said those look great. I am telling you I was positively giddy with excitement just looking at all the trees there and the whole operation. 

Everyone I came in contact with at this Nusery was soooooooooooooooooo nice. You would have thought I was buying a bazillion trees from them. But I was only buying four trees.  I love businesses that always remember they started out small and grew to what they are and that every single customer is what built them to what they are. Obviously this business remembers this, they didn't need my little four tree purchase I am quite sure, but they not only let the public still buy from them but they treat you so nice. Not at all like your bothering them. When trust me from what I saw they were busy busy busy!

So then we walk back to the front office and the nice mountain of a man bagged up my four trees and the nice office gal checked me out. We get to talking and talking and I find out about what all else they have... I am sooooooooooooooo going back! Both the gals in the front office could  not have been nicer or more helpful!

They sell all kinds of fruit trees, nut trees, grapes, muscadine, blueberries, blackberries, shade trees, well the list is long... I want to get some almond trees and muscadine vines and they had some pear trees that I never see at the regular nursery here. I looked them up and I think they will be great to have. Yes I will be going back.

So that was yesterday... Today I planted my four fuyu! Here they are..I put them in a tub of loose slightly damp not wet just damp compost yesterday afternoon when I got home. I figured that would hold them till today. 
Keeper says mmmm these sticks smell good.. can I have one?

No Keeper, those are not sticks... those are Mommy's new Fuyu Persimmon trees.
I got them all four planted. I tried to do everything I could to insure they will make it!
Which included protecting them from a certain big white dog who LOVES sticks... and yes has been known to pull up a bare root tree thinking its a stick. Ignore the small oak tree you see. It is all but dead. It will be removed. Sadly here in Texas we are dealing with Oak Wilt as are many other parts of the U.S.. Its a Red Oak one of the most susceptible oaks to this incurable disease. We didn't know this when we planted it. Its in the background if you see it.
I put a heavy duty tomato cage over each Fuyu then I wrapped that in fencing wire ... I put hay down and I used compost and mixed it in with the soil I dug out of the hole. I watered each tree really good after I got it planted to get all the air out of the hole and dirt and then added a bit more dirt on top as the dirt settled some from the watering. 


Now just cuz you guys havent seen my goaties in a while
Here is Cubey and Skittles.. Cube is so old we don't know how old she is... We have had her quite a  few years and she wasn't a young goat when we got her. I retired Cubey several years ago.

Sugarcube AKA Cubey AKA The Boss
 Cubey and Skittles best of buds
 Skittles
 Cubey 


Over wintering my citrus trees

When I first started growing citrus in pots, I would put them in my greenhouse in the winter. I started with just a couple trees. Welllll now I have nearly a dozen different citrus trees and the first one are so large they won't fit in my green house. Soooo we over winter them in the garage now. On nice days I open both the garage doors and we have fluorescent lights in the garage. If its freezing they have to rely on the fluorescent lights. We did this last  year and they seemed to do good. So back in the garage they went this winter. I would eventually like a greenhouse for just them but its wayyyyyyyy down the list of gardening gets.

Citrus in the garage.
Mandarins, I have almost eat them all. Each day as I leave for work I go over and pick a couple to take to work with me. Good snacks :O)


 Grapefruits one is getting ripe 

 Lemons getting ripe 
 Kumquats tree is loaded again this year, they are getting ripe as well. This year I am going to do some of them in a crystallized dried candy. I have canned them in the previous years which works well too.
The Kumquat tree is the most reliable of all the citrus I grow. Its has been loaded every year. 
I have a avocado tree not in the photos. It has grown to tall it won't fit in the garage either LOL. But the good news is I found out that he variety I have can go in the ground to zone 8! Thats us... so its going in the ground. It can reach 40 feet tall and 40 wide. It has never had a avocado on it as it needs a avocado tree friend in order to make avocados.... I will have to search out a friend for it that can also be planted to zone 8.  I keep meaning to do that but well time ya know. Till then it just keeps growing.

Growing Saffron part ll

I built my bed Sunday, whew all 25 feet of it. I put down the hardware cloth wire first then I put cinder blocks on top of it leaving about 1/2" sticking past the cinder block. We have to do this because we have moles here really bad. The daffodils I have been planting here are certainly helping with our mole problem but where I put this bed I knew the moles would come as I have few daffodils in the area.

The saffron bulbs arrived Monday


Ok so here is my bed, no its not perfect I didn't feel good enough to dig and perfectly level the ground. I started getting sick Saturday, thankfully I hardly ever get sick. Today I am off work, my boss told me yesterday to just take off till Monday. The shop is closed Thurs and Friday anyway for the holidays. I said ok if your sure. I slept twelve hours last night and the night before and am on herbs. Don't feel 100% for sure but I am not on my death bed either. I am the worst sick person, if I just sit and do nothing then it just makes me feel worse sitting thinking about how bad I feel. So unless I am meggggggggggga sick I just keep going, but at a slower pace.

Anyway so I got the bed built. I used a mixture of a lot of organic compost, a bit of our sandy soil and a couple bags of perlite all mixed together. I don't want this bed holding water. Being its a raised bed that should cover me but I figured this mixture would also help. From my reading so far I have read over and over the bulbs will rot rather easy if they stay to wet. I put this bed right in our back yard area where I plan to add an additional 5-6 beds for vegetables. Yes a third vegetable garden :O) but that's a whole other post. 

                                      

The bulbs came with instructions to plant them 3-4 inches apart and 4" deep. So that is what I did.  Yes the bulbs are sprouted as you can see but every last bulb was nice and firm and in good shape. I knew I was ordering late in the season for buying these bulbs, this is why it will be a whole year before I see flowers.

Some men bring their wife fancy stuff... mine brings me anything gardening related knowing he is sure to score megga browny points. He finds the best clearance deals and I always seem to be able to find what I need in that stuff when I am working.  He brought me home these bamboo stakes and the netting. 
The netting looks like this 
So once I got my bulbs planted I covered the entire row with the black netting. You can just make out that netting on the dirt if you look close. Even though part of the row isn't planted yet I covered it too. I placed a second order to get enough bulbs to finish filling this bed, they will most likely be here by Saturday. My thinking is I can't use this row really for anything else as I have to control the moisture completely and the moisture requirements for these is totally backwards of anything else I grow LOL. So the whole bed will be saffron. Go big or go home as they say. I may even have to cover this bed at times to keep rain from getting in it, so yep whole bed will be saffron no point wasting that garden real estate. :O)
The netting is to keep the squirrels and rabbits from digging up my bulbs. I hope. From my reading they both love to eat these bulbs and will dig them up! The moles and voles love them as well so like I say I put the hardware cloth on the bottom ...I used the stakes to hold down the netting and the wire I put on top.
Then I added this piece of left over wire on top of the neeting where the bulbs are. I had a piece just big enough to cover that section of the bed. Its for insurance against the rabbits and squirrels and just in case a certain big white dog we all know and love decided to walk in the bed. He is pretty good most of the time but sometimes in his mind he feels its a good decision to walk in my raised beds and I can tell you with certainty that when you hear GP's will make up their own mind about what they do. Its true.. Stubborn!!! But they make up for that stubbornness by how incredibly loving and just super wonderful they are.  The wire below on top of the netting

So until the second box of bulbs arrive, I am done. Can you see why saffron is so expensive. I can. Between the labor intensive totally hand harvest and then controlling the moisture to keep your bulbs from rotting, apparently this a a real issue. Then if you have moles, voles, squirrels, rabbits. You have to protect the bulbs from them. I am used to gardening in raised beds due to the moles so for me that wasn't anything new. The protection for the top was.  The issues I am seeing with my top protection is once the bulbs start to come up. Which I am sure these are gong to shoot up their grassy foliage fairly quick, though I won't get any flowers this year. The green foliage will be there all winter. So my top protection temporary till I can get some type of fencing around this bed. But for today this worked.

Growing Saffron

Hey guys, yep I am still here. Working a lot, its total rush time at the Design Studio everyone waits till the last minute and then wants a house full of new window treatments, bedding and or upholstered furniture in time for the Thanksgiving and or Christmas Holidays :O)... so till end of year its a crazy place at work! :O)... I am hanging tight though...

Okay so on a fun gardening note... which is all that keeps sane right now and well always as gardening is my favorite thing in the world to be doing for sure! When I do have a day off and or time I am outside doing something! As of late, digging, potting my two rows of raspberries which will be replanted in a new locations next spring sometime... in hopes they will like that spot better and actually make berries!! :O) I have almost got one row dug up and potted! Its been a job but to be honest not as bad as I feared it might be. I am also creating new raised beds for things I will need space for next spring... As ya'll know due to moles I have to do raised beds for most everything I grow or I have to cage it in wire in the ground as the moles are real stinkers here!

One thing I am creating a new raised bed for is. 
Saffron!!

Anyone out there grow saffron? Well I ordered 150 bulbs and will have a 15 foot x 3 foot row! The bulbs will be arriving really quick. Its a tad on the late side to be planting them, in that I won't get a crop this year. They bloom in October which obviously has passed. But its not to late to do the bed and plant them. Next year I will get a crop of saffron!

I have been speed reading everything I could on growing it ... what conditions it likes... the climate...the sun requirements... the dirt... etc etc. Our climate seems very compatible to growing saffron. Someone please pinch me because our extreme climate usually is not what a plant wants ROFL.
Very little water as a matter a fact is just what saffron likes, as water is not saffrons friend... Ok :O) that I can handle check very little water got that... Did you know that from April to Sept. the saffron bulb crocus sativus is dormant... yep its just under the ground doing nadda.... and get this ... You don't water it during this time!!..... I can hardly wrap my brain around something not getting watered from April to Sept here where we live in the Sahara Desert  ermmm  I mean Texas.....with our heat and lack of rain? but nope its true. I talked with the very nice people I ordered the bulbs from to make sure I understood how to grow these little fellas and its true! So then in Sept. you can give them a drink if you didn't get rain and they will shoot up their green grassy like foliage up and then they begin to bloom. You have approximately 4 weeks give or take to harvest the flowers and pull the stigmas out (the saffron) The red things you see in the photo below.  Each flower has only three red stigma. You only have 48 hours to get each flower as they live 48 hours. So every single day you are out checking to see what is ready to harvest. This is why real saffron is sooooooooooooooo expensive to buy. Its a totally hand harvested crop. The window for harvesting is narrow and its a lot of work. Thus the price of real saffron.

Well ya know I love a good gardening challenge so I am putting in a 15 foot bed! I must say I am so excited I can hardly stand it! But it will be next October before I see the fruits of my work (I hope)! 

Today I was off but it was raining off and on. Not complaining at all, we need it! I tried to get out and do some work on the location of where my raised mole proof saffron bed will go but I wasn't able to get much at all done. I did make it to the Home Depot and purchased the wire we use in the bottom of all our raised beds. So that was something! 
I still have enough cinder blocks here to do the bed out of...
I will fill the bed with a nice mix of organic compost and sand and such. They don't like to stay wet, they will rot apparently quickly if they are kept to wet. So a good soil mix that drains very well is what I am shooting for. 

Apparently the flowers smell really nice and well they are surely pretty too! I will be putting  a net over the bed as its my understanding that squirrels like the bulbs and will dig them up. I also will be fencing the area so that rabbits can't dig them up, as apparently they like them too! 

So as usual I have managed to get myself into plenty of work .. but oh my how fun this work is! 
Any of ya'll growing saffon? I would love to hear your experiences with it if so.  

Quick hello

I am working more at the shop again, long story. But for now I am good with it.
Off today, so I am trying to cram in a lot!

Stripped the bed

Put on a crock pot of spaghetti sauce for supper.

Two loads of laundry, last one still on the line.

Canned banana peppers today, yesterday I canned jalapeno peppers, my peppers have decided to kick in gear :O) a bit.

Cleaned out the goat barn

Spread all that lovely fertilizer on garden rows.

Pulled up some dead vegetable plants, and cages. Still do not have all my rows put to bed, but getting close. Just a few things left.

Did a bit of computer work for the shop only 30 minutes but never the less...


and now....  I am getting tired LOL




and so on

I have been busy putting the garden to bed.. pulling old plants,,, cutting back the herb bed which was totally out of control. Trimming plants etc.  Trying to get some things planted that I have grown from seed that were ready to go in the ground.... I have more of that to do. With fall coming now is the time to try to get some of it in the ground.

I have decided to move my two raised beds of raspberries... What a undertaking this will be. First I am trying to figure out where to move them to! You don't see many raspberries here where I live. I myself struggled to get them to live. Finally I managed and figured out to keep them under shade covers and they wouldn't burn up in our sun. I gave them two of my  prime rows in my big vegetable garden. They take a entire hoop house with shade covers. Well a few are three yrs and most are 1.5 to 2 yrs. I have only seen a handful of raspberries sighhhh...  I have decided that I simply can't justify letting them have the two rows under a hoop house which I have shade covers for any longer. They are not producing and they were huge this year! Lush big green plants and no berries........ The two rows will go back to being vegetable beds. The raspberries I will dig up and move to a new location. It can't be full sun, it can't get west sun. It needs to be morning sun and a bit of mid day sun or they will burn up. I have to be able to get a water hose to the area as well. I will put a soaker hose in with them when I plant. I hope they live and I hope to get berries some day LOL. I read up and it seems raspberries can do this . Not make berries. I read several reasons why this occurs and sadly not really any solutions.... I had no idea to be honest that this was a issue with them. My experience is really with blackberries which pretty much is if you have the plants they make berries LOL... I came across  many threads online of people looking for answers just as I was. They had the plants, they looked great but they were not getting any berries. Its going to be a major undertaking moving those plants! But I am going to do it because I want those to prime rows to be productive rows, producing food for us.

Keeper had a spell of not feeling well and it worried me greatly!! But he is right as rain and doing great now! Still a bit of a mystery as to what was going on but again he is doing good now! :O)

We have been having some lovely weather as of late :O) Its been nice!

We did have a storm come through on Thursday that was quite fierce... The weather people said the weather tracker they have out by us clocked the winds at 83 miles an hour. We had some limbs down and a bit of minor damage on the farm. Some didn't fair near as well.

Honeyman was on his way back in from out of town and got stuck in Houston because they closed the Dallas airport due to a storm. They sent the flight he was on to Houston because they could not land in Dallas....Finally before it was over he and the co worker that was with him rented a car in Houston and drove home to Dallas and then he had to drive to our house from the Dallas airport where his truck was..... They drove into the storm and honeyman said  it was quite un-nerving to say the least.  Bless his heart one very tired honeyman made it home finally at 2 a.m. in the morning... It was a very tiring trip all the way around for him...

I am still working as well for the Interior Design studio. A lot I can do from home but some I go into the shop for. Not daily like I was though...This is working out well! :O)

So that is what has been going on around here..........

Keeper popping in to say hi

Hi all its me Keeper, just popping in to say hello and to show you my bunny. I have been taking him everywhere in the house with me since Mom gave him to me. Taking good care of him. He looks small next to my head :O),  but bunny is actually 16" tall with his ears bent down like they are now and 12" wide. My head is just so big I dwarf him. 
Right now I am starting to grow out my summer hair cut. No really my hair is only half as long as it will be this winter and then I look HUGE! Well ok I look huge now but then I look XXX Huge LOL

To give you some idea how big Keeper has grown to be, our floor tiles are 22 inch squares. We now have to order his harness offline as he is so big the ones at the regular pet stores aren't large enough, nope not even the biggest ones pet smart sells. I am going to try to get some of the strapping that they are made from and see if I can make him a larger one first myself. His collar is the same way the biggest collar which is what he has on now is on the last hole. Need to either order or make him a new one from somewhere that sells  XXXL LOL

Can't even tell you how much we love this big furry fella!
Keeper is not sad though he does sorta look it in these photos. I woke him up taking pictures LOL He has sleepy face. LOL. 

 LOL I was not cooperating with Mom. I wanted to lay down yawnnn she wanted me to stand up for this photo. A Great Pyrenees needs his sleep ermm about 20 out of 24 hours ya know ROFL ROFL
Oh dear I see the chewed corner of the baseboard is in this photo, now I can explain. See I was just a puppy then 9 months old. Mom had just brought me home from rescue and well it was all new to me. I don't do that now. Mom really needs to fix that!